Reading in the Digital Age

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eBooks have been opening up new avenues for increasing children’s interest in reading. Whereas reading in the past was limited by library trips and the amount of books a household had on hand, eBooks can give a child and their family instant access to thousands of fun, colorful stories — many of them absolutely free.

In fact, a study conducted by book publisher Scholastic found that eBooks are increasingly a huge part of children’s reading culture. Many signs points to eBooks becoming a powerful new tool in child education and enrichment. In an age where reading is taking second place to thousands of other distractions on TV and mobile devices, parents can actually harness the power of technology to build a love of reading.

Screens as a Gateway to the Page

Typically, child development experts recommend limiting children’s weekly screen time to set amounts. These recommendations are usually based on the fact that most screen-focused devices enable forms of entertainment that are inherently passive. Watching TV, playing casual mobile games and just tinkering with interactive “toys” can give your child the illusion of stimulation without any of the educational enrichment that should come with it.

eBooks are an exception, at least according to Scholastic’s findings. Their study revealed that many children have come to see eBooks as an interesting and rewarding way to take up reading. Over half of the children who indicated that they were moderate readers — reading one to four days a week — agreed that if they had more access to eBooks they would read more. Among boys, who are typically more reluctant to read frequently, one in four who had read an eBook said that they were now reading more for fun.

Kids also see eBooks as more practical when they are travelling or moving about outside the home, such as during errand runs. Some children who do not want their friends to know what book they are reading said they prefer eBooks, which unlike regular books do not disclose the story being read by the child on the outside.

“We are seeing that kids today are drawn to both print books and eBooks, yet e-reading seems to offer an exciting opportunity to attract and motivate boys and reluctant readers to read more books,” stated Scholastic’s Chief Academic Officer Francie Alexander.

A Wealth of Options

Another element eBooks add to children’s love of reading is choice. With eBooks, children have a much larger range of choices that are instantly available, as opposed to being limited to reading materials on hand. By being able to choose the book they want to read with greater freedom, they are taking a more active role in their own habits and increasing the likelihood that they will remain interested in reading. Scholastic’s data supports this effect, showing that a whopping nine in ten children said that they were more likely to finish a book that they had chosen themselves.

For parents that want their children to get an early head start in reading and story comprehension, giving them a choice of what to read and actively enjoying the book with them can go a long way. You can visit our selection of free children’s eBooks to let your child pick the one they want to hear most, hopefully beginning a long and happy life enriched by books.